By Dominique Jando
Born Raúl Nadler in 1961, "Raulito" Jimenez is, on his mother’s side, fifth generation of an old Mexican circus family whose fame dates back to nineteenth century. (His mother was born Elvia Jimenez.) He started performing in the ring in his family's acrobatic acts at the tender age of three, in Circo Dumbars, in Mexico.
In 1971, his uncle, Raúl Jimenez, had created a flying act with his brothers and sisters. Raulito had already shown an extraordinary talent for the flying trapeze: He had completed his first triple somersault at age nine, and a few years later, he completed a triple with a full twist. Raulito joined the Flying Jimenez in 1974; at age thirteen, he was already the star of the act.
Raulito Jimenez toured with his family’s act in South America, and then all over Europe with some of the most prominent circuses there: Circo Nando Orfei in Italy; Cirque Pinder, Cirque d’Hiver-Bouglione, Cirque Jean Richard in France; Cirkus Benneweis in Denmark; Blackpool Tower Circus in England; Circus Scott in Sweden; and Circus Krone in Germany among others.
In 1980, the Flying Jimenez won the Gold Medal at the Circus World Championships in London, and they received the prestigious Silver Clown award at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. By then, Raulito Jimenez, caught by his uncle Raúl, had in his repertoire a triple somersault (with which he opened the act!), a triple with a full twist, a double-double, and a triple and a half somersault. In the same act, his cousin América was also the first female Mexican flyer to complete a triple somersault.
This extraordinary troupe eventually disbanded in the late 1980s. In 1990, Raúl Nadler-Jimenez, who had settled in Portugal, created his own Flying Jimenez troupe with the Romanian catcher Danut Lumei, and the Italian sisters Lara and Siona Gottani. The act appeared mostly in Europe, but it went to the United States in 1997, where it was featured in the Big Apple Circus production of Twenty Years!. Raúl Jimenez, who had certainly not lost his remarkable style and elegance, limited now his prowess to the triple somersault; sadly, he retired from flying soon after this engagement.